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Eagles Must Prevent History From Repeating in Denver

Their last visit to Denver was a long time ago, but there was a familiar refrain in the QB play that day in 2013 that has been repeated too often in 2021
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The last time the Eagles went to Denver, it didn’t go so well.

It was a very long time ago, granted. Eight years ago, to be exact. It was Sept. 29, 2013, to be even more exact.

Maybe you remember Peyton Manning?

Yeah, the recent Hall of Fame inductee was on that Broncos team. He threw four touchdowns against the Eagles that day as Denver rolled 52-20. They scored 38 straight points to run away from a slim 14-13 lead early in the second quarter.

Thunder was huffing and puffing that day. That is the name of the team mascot, a beautiful white Arabian horse that runs onto the field after Denver scores a touchdown or field goal.

Chip Kelly was in his second season as Eagles head coach, Nick Foles was the quarterback and some of his weapons included running back Chris Polk and receiver Jeff Maehl, both of whom scored touchdowns in the rout.

Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly now coaches UCLA

Yeah, it’s been a while.

One thing hasn't changed, though.

Manning completed 82 percent of his throws that day, going 28-for-24 with 327 yards.

And doesn’t that sound familiar?

The Eagles are the kings of giving up 80 percent of completions this season, allowing five quarterbacks to achieve that Hall of Fame-ish number.

MORE: Eagles Preview: Five on the Broncos

This isn’t what GM Howie Roseman had in mind when he said they want to be a quarterback factory. He meant he wanted his team to have the good quarterbacks, not turn opposing QBs into Hall of Famers for a day.

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Anyway, there was plenty of talk about the 80-percent this week from defensive coordinators Jonathan Gannon and his defenders.

“I think JG is starting to figure out who we are and what we’re trying to be, and the players that he has, and trying to match the defense with some of our strengths,” said safety Rodney McLeod, who could be playing his final eight games with Eagles since his contract expires at the end of the season. “That’s part of it, and it’s all growing. We’re all growing together. Still trying to understand one another.”

It sounds like Gannon is very much learning on the job after joining the Eagles from the Colts, where he was a defensive backs coach.

He was the hot hire at the time, supposedly. Owner Jeffrey Lurie told us that when the Eagles decided to pair him with head coach Nick Sirianni earlier this year, that there were several teams that wanted to hire Gannon as their DC.

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Philadelphia is not a good place to be learning on the job.

Even still, one might think that after nine games, and five quarterbacks who have completed 80 percent of their throws on them, with another one who has the potential to do it on Sunday in Denver’s Teddy Bridgewater, the learning curve would have even out somewhat.

“There’s no timetable on it really,” said McLeod. “It’s whatever is needed, it’s whatever scheme is needed for us to win, that’s what we’re going to do. So, we’ll continue to grow, and we’ll continue to get better. At the end of the day, we have the opportunity this Sunday and show what we’re about.”

The defensive line needs to do its part as well. It has not had a single sack in three of the last four games.

This would feel like a streak that could end with the Broncos missing three starters on the line. Of course, the right side of the Chargers’ O-line wasn’t supposed to be world beaters, but they handled the Eagles’ defensive linemen just fine.

At 3-6, the Eagles' playoff hopes are on the ropes. If the defense doesn’t adjust and simply play better, Denver could deliver a knockout punch to those hopes with a win.

If it’s a win like the one in 2013, then you have to wonder how many more games Gannon will be given to figure things out.

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.